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Apr 07

F is for Floccinaucinihilipilification

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floc-ci-nau-ci-ni-hil-i-pil-i-fi-ca-tion

[flok-suh-naw-suh-nahy-hil-uh-pil-uh-fi-key-shuh  n]

noun: Rare. the estimation of something as valueless (encountered mainly as an example of one of the longest words in the English language).

origin: 1735–45;  < Latin floccī  + naucī  + nihilī  + pilī  all meaning “of little or no value, trifling” + -fication

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A lot of people I know seem to be falling victim to floccinaucinihilipilification at the moment – belittling their own work and claiming the ‘shit’ they write should never see the light of day. Pfft, who told you it was ever going to see the light of day anyway?

There are many reasons to give something up. If it’s bad for you for instance, of if your other half decides to withhold sex until you do so…actually in that case give up the partner, get really good at the thing they wanted you to give up, and use it to get alllll the sex you could ever wish for. Unless your thing is stamp collecting – I don’t care how good you are at stamp collecting, how many Treskilling Yellows or Inverted Jennys you have…you, my friend, are getting zero squishy. Until the end of time.

The worst reason in the world to give something up is because you suck at it. In fact that’s the exact reason you should stick at it! I don’t care how many child prodigy documentaries you’ve watched, or how many people have claimed this is their ‘first time’ and ended up being amazing at something (see ‘squishy’), there is no substitute for experience and dedication…and sticking with your craft.

Notice how I’m not saying ‘because you THINK you suck at it’, there’s no doubt there – you do suck at it. It might be hard to hear but I can promise you it’s true. You might be alright, maybe even a little good, but as soon as you compare yourself to someone better you take a one way ticket back to Sucksville, ME.

And there’s the rub.

You have to suck at something long enough for it to get really good (squishy?).

Complaining you’re bad at something is like saying you’re bored.

Get unbored, motherfucker!

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“I’m bored’ is a useless thing to say. I mean, you live in a great, big, vast world that you’ve seen none percent of. Even the inside of your own mind is endless; it goes on forever, inwardly, do you understand? The fact that you’re alive is amazing, so you don’t get to say ‘I’m bored.”

― Louis C.K.

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The same thing applies to “being bad” – get unbad (mother…etc.)

Of course your writing is bad, that’s why (and because) you’re here reading the advice of someone equally sucky (I mean for Christ’s sake, I use words like ‘sucky’ and ‘unbored’ – why are you listening to me?).

Your work shouldn’t see the light of day…not yet. It’s a hell of a long journey to perfect a craft. Even the guys you love and respect are still working on their skills. Don’t expect an epiphany marked by thunderclaps and rainbows when you’re brain suddenly clicks to ‘WRITER MODE’. You’re not suddenly going to see the world in Matrix code and be one with the written word, it just doesn’t work like that.

You will most likely ALWAYS think you suck.

And that’s a good thing. It means you will ALWAYS try and improve.

Stop being a floccinaucinihilipilificatrix and take a leaf out of the L’Oreal handbook.

Because you’re worth it.

*wink*

I am SO damn worth it!!

I am SO damn worth it!!

19 comments

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  1. Charlie

    SO beautiful! I’m keeping that picture for my personal collection… Yep.

    Quite right though, I need to read this post every time I decide to never write again (which is most times I write!)

    1. Steven Chapman

      It’s all part of my plan. People keep coming back for inspiration, seeing the picture, and vowing never to slack again so they don’t have to revisit 😛

  2. Liz Brownlee

    All very true. By the way, I am a teensy bit disturbed by the fact you seem to have a teeny tiny pair of arms on your back…

    1. Steven Chapman

      That’s how I scrub those hard to reach places.

  3. Helen Baggott

    Why have you got handles on your shoulders?

    1. Steven Chapman

      Makes me easier to pick up.

  4. Veronica Sicoe

    Have you ever considered writing humor, besides horror? I bet it’d get you plenty of squishy.

    1. Steven Chapman

      This is a serious post – how very dare you! Squishy is a technical term.

  5. TuiSnider

    Wow – I’m gonna have to practice that word a bit more before I can make my way through it! Fun post!

    ~Tui Snider~
    My blog: Tui Snider’s Offbeat & Overlooked Travel
    I am also part of the #StoryDam team, a friendly writing community!

  6. Gene'O

    Great! I belittled my own work for a long time. Don’t do that any more, but I totally get what you mean. Saw a successful comedian talking about this very thing not long ago (can’t remember which one). He said the only way to learn to do it is go out and stand in front of that audience and fail, and keep failing, until you figure out how to succeed.

    I think writing’s like that. It certainly has been for me.

    Love the image, and best of luck with the challenge!

  7. Kyra Lennon

    You rock. I’m not sure why I haven’t been following your blog the whole time – but I’m paying attention now!

    (Thank you!)

    1. Steven Chapman

      So getting naked is the key to internet fame? Who knew?

  8. Ellie Garratt

    Snort. You made me spit my coffee out!

    1. Steven Chapman

      That’s just another way of saying my half naked pic made you drool.

  9. susan

    I think your terminology is correct. And I read you cause you make good points and have a sense of humour. Most people have no idea what a sense of humour is – it’s not being funny or telling jokes. It’s wit – and you have more than just a wit of the whimsy

    1. Steven Chapman

      ‘Wit of the whimsy’ – I’m getting that on a t-shirt 😀 Thanks.

  10. Patricia Lynne (@plynne_writes)

    That is a great word and you have some sagely advice. Writing buddies and I always agreed that if we ever started thinking everything we wrote was awesome that would mean we’d stop improving.

    ~Patricia Lynne~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, YA Author

    1. Steven Chapman

      Me and a friend once agreed if we ever wrote anything similar to Twilight we’d each kill the other. Ahhh, writing friends.

  11. Julianne Snow (@CdnZmbiRytr)

    I shared this post, not just because it was good, but because of that picture… I had to share. HAD TO!!

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